Getting ready for a baby is daunting. You already know you’ll need diapers, milk, and a few clothes, but what other essentials will you need in those first few weeks? Many websites claim you’ll need thirty pairs of baby pajamas, an ergonomic crib, a designer diaper bag, and much more.
Having a baby is expensive enough, so start with the basics. The list of necessities is shorter than you think.
- A Rear-Facing Car Seat
You can’t take the baby home from the hospital without a rear-facing car seat. Buying one can be scary, because there’s a lot of fear-mongering, but basically there are two kinds: one that you can easily lift out of the car and click into a stroller frame (but only works while your baby is small), and a “3-in-1” that will grow with your child, but stays in the car. All new car seats in Canada are required to meet the same safety standards[i], so just choose the one that fits your budget and needs.
- A Place to Safely Put the Baby Down
I was so excited to finally hold my baby in my arms that I forgot that I would eventually need to put her down to eat, shower, and heal from labour. You will need a safe place to rest the baby now and then. A vibrating infant rocker[ii] is excellent – just make sure you stock up on batteries before the little one arrives. The vibrating feature is a lifesaver.
- Vitamin D Drops
On our last day in the hospital, the doctor casually told us that breastfed babies need a daily Vitamin D supplement[iii]. Despite reading dozens of websites getting ready for baby, I seemed to have missed this crucial piece of health advice. Add a bottle of drops[iv] to your registry and avoid having to hit the drug store with a four-day-old like I did.
- Some Easy Entertainment
For my first few weeks as a mother, there were days upon days where all I could do was sit. The baby just wanted to nurse, burp, fall asleep in my arms, wake up, nurse, burp, and fall asleep again. In those bleary hours, I was so relieved to have a smart phone to read articles on, and a PVR to watch (and pause) easy-to-digest sitcoms.
- A Working Dishwasher, Vacuum, and Washing Machine
One of the most contradictory things about babies is that they love loud white noise. To soothe our baby, all we have to do is strap her in her rocker, put her next to the dishwasher, and turn it on. She calms down immediately and often falls asleep. Get your white noise source ready before baby arrives, and don’t be afraid to turn it up.
A baby won’t need stimulating toys, entertaining books, convertible cribs, and foldable high chairs for months. Spread out the cost of having a baby by simply getting the essentials, and relax knowing you’ve got everything you need.
[i] Car seat safety standards press release: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/releases-2011-h145e-6605.htm
[ii] Fisher Price Rocker: http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Infant-To-Toddler-Rocker-Blue-Green/dp/B000WUB9O4
[iii] Health Canada recommends breastfed babies receive Vitamin D: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/consult/infant-nourrisson/recommendations/index-eng.php#sec4
[iv] Available at Well.ca: http://well.ca/products/baby-ddrops-liquid_7336.html